By CARLO ANOLIN
National University bucked a slow start and eked out an 18-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18 victory against reigning champion Ateneo for its ninth straight win in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Michaela Belen spearheaded the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points built on 17 spikes and two blocks, Princess Robles fired 15 attacks for 16 points, while Alyssa Solomon hammered down 14 points.
“Siguro wake-up call din sa amin ‘yon (first set) na kailangan maglaro kami nang maayos. Kailangan paghirapan namin every point, every set,” said NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan. “Kasi ‘di kami puwedeng complacent sa mga situation ngayon. And Ateneo kahit anong standing nila, it’s still Ateneo pa rin. So kailangan magtrabaho kami nang maayos palagi.
Earlier, Adamson bounced back from Thursday’s heartbreaking five-set loss against University of Santo Tomas with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-9 win over University of the East.
In the fourth set, NU took a 22-16 lead on libero Jen Nierva’s lone point off a fake set to a dump.
Ateneo responded with two straight points as Robles committed a service error and followed up by Erika Raagas’ denial of the former to put the game within striking distance, 22-18.
Belen and Alyssa Solomon, however, assured that there won’t be an extra set as the two connived down the stretch with a block of Gandler and a solid kill, respectively. Gandler paced the Blue Eagles, who fell to a 4-5 slate, with 19 points off 17 attacks and two blocks while Faith Nisperos chalked up nine spikes and a service ace for 11 markers.
Trisha Genesis led the Lady Falcons anew with 13 points powered by 10 spikes and three service aces while May Ann Nuique and Hannah Infante added nine points apiece.
The Lady Falcons, who improved to a 5-4 record, only needed one hour and 12 minutes to keep the Lady Warriors winless in nine straight matches.